Lynn Hughes

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Lynn Nettleton Hughes
Lynn Nettleton Hughes.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
Assumed office
December 17, 1985
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Robert J. O'Conor Jr.
Personal details
Born Lynn Nettleton Hughes
(1941-09-09) September 9, 1941 (age 77)
Houston, Texas
Education University of Alabama (B.A.)
University of Texas School of Law (J.D.)
University of Virginia School of Law (LL.M.)

Lynn Nettleton Hughes (born September 9, 1941) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Education and career[edit]

Born in Houston, Texas, Hughes received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alabama in 1963 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law in 1966. He was in private practice in Houston from 1966 to 1979. He was President of Southwest Resources in Houston from 1969 to 1970. He was a judge on the 165th Judicial District, State of Texas from 1979 to 1980. He was a judge on the 189th Judicial District, State of Texas from 1981 to 1985. He was an adjunct professor at the South Texas College of Law from 1973 to 2003. He was an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law from 1990 to 1991. He received a Master of Laws from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1992.[1]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Hughes was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on October 16, 1985, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas vacated by Judge Robert J. O'Conor Jr. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 16, 1985, and received his commission on December 17, 1985.[1]

Lecturer[edit]

Since approximately 2008, Hughes has been a lecturer focusing on ethical issues for the 35,000-member American Association of Petroleum Geologists.[2]

Sex discrimination ruling[edit]

In the case of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Houston Funding II, Ltd. et al., Case Number H-11-2442 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 2, 2012), Donnicia Venters, a mother represented by the EEOC, claimed that she was fired from Houston Funding due to her request to be allowed to pump breastmilk upon her return to work after giving birth. Houston Funding claimed that it had fired Venters for abandoning her job for over two months after giving birth.

Venters sued Houston Funding, alleging that the company had discriminated against her based on her sex.[3] Citing several previous District Court opinions which had already ruled on the issue, Judge Hughes explained that breastfeeding is not covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.[4]

In the ruling, Hughes writes, "Even if the company's claim that she was fired for abandonment is meant to hide the real reason – she wanted to pump breast milk – lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. She gave birth on Dec. 11, 2009. After that day, she was no longer pregnant and her pregnancy-related conditions ended. Firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination."[4][5] Hughes was overruled by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which held that Venters had established a prima facie case of sex discrimination under Title VII.[6]

Sexism controversy[edit]

Upon dismissing the indictment in a case titled United States v. Swenson, Judge Hughes sharply criticized a female prosecutor on the case, saying "It was a lot simpler when you guys wore dark suits white shirts and navy ties . . . we didn’t let girls do it in the old days." The Fifth Circuit reversed, and stated that Judge Hughes' comments were "demeaning, inappropriate and beneath the dignity of a federal judge."[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hughes, Lynn Nettleton - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov. 
  2. ^ "Lowell Sun June 6, 2010 Many Gulf federal judges have oil links". Lowell Sun. Retrieved 6 June 2010. [dead link]
  3. ^ Plushnick-Masti, Ramit (February 9, 2012). "Judge: Firing for lactation not sex discrimination". The Seattle Times. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "EEOC v Houston Funding II, LTD, Case No. H-11-2442 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 2, 2011)". Scribd.com. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  5. ^ Winter, Jessica (March 7, 2012). "Subject for Debate: Are Women People?". Time. 
  6. ^ "Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Houston Funding II, Ltd., No. 12-20220" (PDF). ca5.uscourts.gov. 
  7. ^ Council, John (July 5, 2018). "Fifth Circuit Criticizes Houston Federal Judge for Alleged Sexist Remarks". Texas Lawyer. Retrieved July 6, 2018. 

Sources[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert J. O'Conor Jr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
1985–present
Incumbent